Ever since our granddaughter was a toddler, she has had an affinity for polka-dots. She found them everywhere: on clothing, gift-wrap paper, ribbons and on wallpaper. Her excitement when finding ‘picca-bots’ was so contagious that we were constantly searching as well. This endearing term has stuck around our family ever since. She was two years old when I was testing recipes for a cookbook, and she was ‘helping’ me in the kitchen with some Chocolate Chip Shortbread cookies when she blurted out that the cookies were ‘picca-bots.’ My initial thought was to name the little cookies Dalmatian cookies, but as soon as she said it, I knew that the name for these cookies would always be “Picca-Bots” – and the rest, as they say, is history.
These delightful little cookie poppers are, enriched with white chocolate and butter in the polka-dotted dough (they are essentially a shortbread cookie). Since Picca-bots are made with only a few ingredients, make sure that they are of the highest quality (white chocolate couverture, excellent butter and pure vanilla). As these cookies are very rich, I have developed the recipe with this in mind and utilize my smallest cookie scoop. I know that you will love these dainty cookies!
Picca-bots – A Chocolate Chip Cookie Story
CHEF TALK: With tiny cookies such as these, make sure that you use mini dark chocolate chips. These cookies freeze well both baked and unbaked. See Notes below regarding a gluten-free and dairy-free version of this cookie.
Yield: Makes approximately 60 small cookies (using a small cookie scoop @ 12 g each)
- 2 ½ oz. (75 g) white chocolate, chopped coarsely
- ¾ cup (170 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup (105 g) granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) pure vanilla bean paste
- 1 ½ cups (195 g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ (2 g) teaspoon salt
- 5 oz. (140 g) mini dark chocolate chips (plus more for topping)
- Preheat the oven to 325oF (170oC).
- In a bowl, over a bain-Marie (See Learning Tips), place the white chocolate in a bowl and let it melt gently until it is smooth. Take it off of the heat and set it aside, keeping it warm.
- With a mixer, using a paddle attachment, cream the room temperature butter and the sugar until very light and fluffy (around 3 – 4 minutes).
- Add the melted white chocolate and the vanilla bean paste. Blend until the mixture is smooth, scraping the sides of the mixing bowl if necessary.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour and the salt. On low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture. Mix until well blended.
- Add the mini chocolate chips. Stir to combine. Chill the dough for 15 minutes.
- Using a small cookie scoop, portion out the cookie dough. Roll the portions in your hand to form a small ball. Place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet (approximately 15 cookies per sheet leaving a two-inch space in between). CHEF TIP: To create the polka-dotted tops, dip the top of the raw cookie balls in mini chips before placing them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 8 – 12 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies, until the edges start to change colour. The cookies will be set and lightly coloured.
- Cool the cookies thoroughly before storing, allowing the chocolate chips to firm up (30 minutes to 1 hour).
MAKE AHEAD: To freeze, pre-scoop the cookies using a small-sized cookie scoop. Place them close together on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roll the cookie nuggets into a ball as indicated above and top them with a few mini chocolate chips. Freeze the cookie balls until they are frozen solid and then transfer them into a pail or an airtight container. When you are ready to bake, place 12 to 15 raw cookie nuggets per baking sheet. Allow the cookies to thaw slightly while the oven preheats and then bake the cookies following the directions above.
Notes for a Gluten-Free Version: Typically gluten-free, dairy-free baking represents a result which I find is not always as pleasing as when I use regular flour and butter. However, in this particular recipe, the result was surprisingly flavourful, the texture was crunchy and overall consistency was good. A gluten-free flour blend was substituted for the all-purpose flour, and coconut butter was used as a substitute for butter. Note in the photograph, the result is a flatter, crispier edged cookie with a lighter baked colour. As indicated, despite the less than perfect appearance, the cookies have a taste and texture that will be the delight of anyone restricted to a gluten-free and dairy-free diet. Give them a try!
CHEF TIP (for Gluten Free Version): Chill the cookie dough for 15 minutes or so as the dough made with coconut butter is quite soft. Chilling the dough slightly before scooping will prevent the cookies from spreading too much.
Please CLICK the link above to access my Urb’n’Spice LEARNING TIPS, which are listed alphabetically on the Learning Tips blog post under the following subheadings:
- Bain Marie
- Extracts – Vanilla Bean Paste
- Oven Temperature Accuracy
- Cookie Scoops
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If you enjoyed this post or tried my recipe for Picca-Bots – A Chocolate Chip Cookie Story, please leave me a comment below with your feedback. Don’t forget to pin this recipe for later!
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